Friday, June 29, 2012

From the Dust: DVD Review

In our beginnings of home-schooling our children, we've already been presented with an issue that will grow as our children do. How do science and faith go together, and do we have to ignore modern scientific discovery, in favor of assumed biblical truths? Children's books that demand humans were friends with carnivorous dinosaurs, and curriculum that guarantees to teach students the evils of evolution....and we're only in 1st grade, folks.

Several years ago, a book came out by a professor at ONU (my alma mater) that described the scientific truths he'd already been teaching for years. The fact is, with the amount of discoveries we've made in recent history, we are more privileged than any generation before us to understand the amazing complexities of the world GOD CREATED. Dr. Colling watched many students struggle with a science that was telling them many things were large, complex, amazingly and freely creative - yet a religion that was telling them God created all of this specific order in 6 24-hour periods. A faith that insisted our world is only several thousand years old, and evolution is a lie from satan to test us. Students had to reject one or the other, and it left many students leaving the faith (as one professor from the movie experienced herself). Because of this, he wanted to reveal to students in his book "Random Designer", how it's possible for the truths discovered in science to not actually conflict with the Truth's revealed in scripture.

I read this book a few years ago, and as someone who doesn't have much background in science - I was amazed to read the many complex ways God may have purposefully and wonderfully created our world. Not chapters on monkeys becoming people...but a book completely filled with microscopic levels of understanding God's amazing creation, and the natural laws that God gave to govern this universe. I highly recommend reading it, no matter what your stance on how God created...or even if you've walked away from God altogether. Perhaps it will open doors to the possibility of something "otherly" at work in our midst.



The movie "From the Dust" seeks to go in that same direction, to "Be a starting point for dialogue and conversation." With interviews from some top theologians, professors (Dr. Colling included), historians, and interpreters (hurray, NT Wright!) - the movie highlights some important conversation points that may open up to a fuller understanding of the creative God we serve. Unfortunately, as a conversation-starter, the film falls a little short on the side of input from the 6-Day Creation camp. Simply looking at the "Bios" section of the website, you can see they interview 2 primary sources on this "side" of the issue (Answers in Genesis, and Canopy Ministries, 5 people). These are definitely all leaders in their field, and they are given plenty of screen-time to speak their opinion. But on the "side" of old earth and possible complex processes used by God in creation, they have 20 different experts they've invited to speak.

 Maybe they invited 15 other experts from the first camp, and they all declined.

In any case, one of the primary goals is to unite these assumed "sides/camps" to recognize we are all on the same side - of pursuing Truth, and an understanding of God and all that He's created. As Dr. Colling says on page 3 of his book, "The questions of ultimate import do not center around creation mechanisms, but rather creation purposes."

The DVD comes with a list of great questions to ask as we seek to be in Awe of our creator, and honor Him, His Word, and all that He has created. These are ways for us to dialogue, no matter what beliefs we bring to the table, about the things that truly matter. To say we have the Truth of Genesis figured out, and not spend time meditating/growing towards the mystery of our creator-God, could be to miss out on quite a bit of God attempting to reach out to us as we understand His creation.

Certainly there are faults. They needed better representation and words spoken from the young-earth folks. They come across as hyper-conservative, full-blinders on, unwilling-to-dialogue- type-people who blame the worlds evil on anyone who accepts evolutionary thought. There are also moments where it feels like a commercial for Dr. Colling's book, or bringing shame on the close-mindedness of the community that caused him to leave ONU.

But overall, I would definitely recommend it as a dialogue starter. Both the DVD, and Dr. Colling's book can be used by God in great ways to heal the divide that some imagine should exist between God and Science (the study of God's creation). The Truth is, the more we understand about our world and it's mysteries - the more we are guided toward a God that is larger than anything we can imagine...as are His purposes for us...

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